CHESTERTOWN — Six years in and the Chestertown HP Festival is still enchanting visitors.
The festival was held Oct. 4 and 5 in various locations around Chestertown — with most of the activity centered on the 200 block of High Street.
While the festival originated as a way to celebrate the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling in her now classic book series following the adventures of Harry Potter, Chestertown’s festival has grown into a celebration of all things magical.
New this year, organization of the festival was transferred to Main Street Chestertown and the Downtown Chestertown Association with help — as in years past — from the Garfield Center for the Arts.
“It’s such a fun festival,” Laurie Bartdorf said.
Bartdorf and her cousin Judy Kellar attended the festival in costumes hand-made by Bartdorf, which she said she creates because they get such a positive reaction from children.
“They love seeing characters they recognize,” Bartdorf said.
Bartdorf, who was visiting from Annapolis, has attended all six years of the HP Festival while this was Kellar’s, who was visiting from Virginia, fifth time.
For other families, it was their first time in both Chestertown and attending the festival. Donnell White said he and his family decided to attend the festival after finding out about it “randomly” online.
He called the festival “exciting.”
Other families like the Kuchtas attended after traveling from Harford County to Chestertown by boat. The family arrived Friday and stayed at the Port of Chestertown Marina through the festival.
For the Davis family, attending the festival fully this year was “required” as in years past, the family was only able to attend a few of the events.
Events began Friday with a community block party on High Street and the ever-popular sorting ceremony. Locals donned costumes from the wizarding world and helped children figure out which of the four Hogwarts houses — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin — they belong in.
On Saturday, there was an assortment of events including the annual scavenger hunt and games of Quidditch. For the scavenger hunt, local businesses participated by taking on the identity of businesses from the wizarding world.
Each also had a riddle for participants to solve, though a few festival attendees said this year’s riddles were easier than last year’s.